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After the card got shuffled around, we got ourselves a Catchweight of 180 pounds between Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez. The biggest loser as a result of the card’s last minute changes, Jingliang stepped up to the plate and took a fight against an opponent who was scheduled to fight ten pounds above him. Despite losing out on a co-main event spot against Tony Ferguson, Jingliang has an opportunity to cement himself as a legend if he pulls this off. Also, Jingliang can notch two straight wins for the first time since 2018-2019. Meanwhile, Rodriguez comes into this fight on fire. Having won three straight and twelve of the past thirteen, Rodriguez is closing in on finally cracking the division’s top fifteen. A victory over Jingliang, regardless of it being a Catchweight, would all but certainly do the job.

Unfortunate that weight discrepancy is a factor, this still should be an exciting fight between two fighters who bring it. Heavy handed and not afraid to brawl, Jingliang is notoriously a dangerous man to stand across from. Physically strong and with good wrestling as well, Jingliang has proven that he isn’t just a one-trick pony. The knock however on Jingliang has been his takedown defense and grappling. Of his five losses in the UFC, he was taken down in four of them. However, Jingliang doesn’t need to worry about defensive wrestling, as Rodriguez is a pure striker. A solid one at that, as Rodriguez has used pressure and output to systematically outclass opponents. With excellent cardio and stout takedown defense too, Rodriguez is a problem for anyone who dares stand with him. Jingliang included, who has power, but his wildness leaves opening. With a more technical approach and nearly double the amount of output, it’s hard for me not to back Rodriguez in this fight. Especially when you consider the fact that he stifled Kevin Lee in his most recent victory. So with that said, I predict Rodriguez wins via decision.

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